random thoughts: authenticity and privacy are not mutually exclusive


Last week when I was giving my talk in Utah, someone in the audience asked if I had any tips on how to be as open on her public blog as she is in her personal journal.

I was actually a bit taken aback by the question.  When I'd regained my composure, I quickly responded that I didn't see any reason that she had to be as open online as she is in her private writings; and in fact, I suggested that perhaps it would be healthier if she wasn't.  Since then (and especially on grey, rainy days like today), I've been mulling our exchange over -- and I keep coming back to the same place.


See, here's the thing:  in this day and age of drama and reality television being high currency, I think we've come to believe that divulging what's private is "courageous" and "brave"; worse, keeping something private is somehow considered dishonest, or deceptive.  There seems to be a misconception that if you write publicly, you forfeit your right to privacy.  Moreover, if you refrain from divulging everything, you've somehow chosen to leave authenticity at the back door.  And honestly, I don't think this perception is held only about bloggers -- I think these things are believed to be true of anyone who publishes anything online, including those on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social media site.

Man, I dunno.

I will admit that this could be my attorney-client-privilege-bias talking, but personally, I admire someone who keeps certain things for herself.  I love the feeling of learning something new about a friend, something that I might not have otherwise known without him telling me, something he wouldn't dream of sharing online.  I think there's something to be said for choosing to work through challenges offline, with close friends and confidants.  But I know that not everyone shares this opinion.

So on this end of a rainy grey day here in Houston, I'll pledge the following:  while I might not share everything that's going on in my life, for whatever reasons, I promise that what I do share here is the truth. 

Because I do believe that authenticity and privacy are not mutually exclusive.

SongPrivate Eyes, as performed  by the Bird and the Bee

Completely unrelated: if your day also happens to be grey where you are, I have a new post over at Style United about how colour can brighten your day. I'd love if you took a look!